Car show revs up Fourth of July fun

Visitors admire Ron and Deb Ruggeiros’ 1959 Cadillac Flat Top during the Firemen’s Fair car show on Sunday.
Visitors admire Ron and Deb Ruggeiros’ 1959 Cadillac Flat Top during the Firemen’s Fair car show on Sunday. adrey@centredaily.com

When Ron Ruggiero bought a 1959 Cadillac from a guy in Arizona, he knew it was going to require a lot of work.

Monday marks the 10th anniversary of when he bought the car, otherwise known as a “Flat Top.”

And it took about eight years to restore.

“Sitting in the Arizona sun, it went from red to orange,” Ruggiero said.

Ruggiero, of Stormstown, did the mechanical work on the 22-foot vehicle and took it to a professional to repaint it red.

But he said all the work was worth it.

He bought it for $4,500, and it’s now worth about $40,000, Ruggiero said.

Though he and his wife, Debbie, entered it in the Firemen’s Fair car show Sunday in Osceola Mills, Ron Ruggiero said the car wasn’t necessarily built for show.

“It’s definitely a car we get a lot of use out of,” he said. “We didn’t just want it to sit there, so we like to take it out.”

Debbie said it’s not uncommon for the couple to take it to places like Wal-Mart, Champs Sports Grill and Home D Pizzeria.

“It’s something we enjoy,” she said.

The Flat Top Ron Ruggiero named “Maybellene the Beauty Queen” took home first place out of about 130 registered vehicles.

Car show organizer Linda Burns said the event annually attracts people from across central Pennsylvania, and sometimes includes people who register their vehicles from as far as Maryland.

“I’ve been doing this for 16 years and it’s grown a lot,” she said. “We get people from State College and Lewistown, and up in St. Marys, but there have been times people come from other states.”

In the first year, 40 vehicles were entered in the show, Burns said.

It now consistently gets more than 100.

“It’s been big like this for a while now,” Burns said.

All money raised through the car show will benefit the Columbia Fire Company.

Fair organizer and fire company member Russell Bush said he didn’t know how much the car show would raise, but that money would go toward fire company operations.

“Anything helps,” he said. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year.”

The car show was the kickoff to a weeklong fair organized by members of the fire company, which attracts about 300 to 400 people daily, Bush said.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo